Roger Tan…what say you now?


I suppose some of you would have read Roger Tan’s Letter to The Star by now.

Here is a statement from the intrepid LoyarBurokkers on the issue. I decided to put it all here, as a record.

Fallacies Spun by Critics of the Bar

This statement is written immediately in response to Roger Tan’s article, but also addresses others who have been critical of the Bar on this issue. We intend to address the second criticism first, then the third and first criticisms. Our reason for this will become apparent as our reply develops.

The Bar Council and the Malaysian Bar (“the Bar”) have been criticised recently as being pro-Opposition. This is because of the Bar’s press statements and its Extraordinary General Meeting resolution regarding the police brutality shown at the Bersih 3.0 sit-down rally.

The common theme adopted by critics of the Bar is that the Bar was not fair, or even-handed, as the Bar were more critical of the police than it was of the other parties involved.

Some of the more popular criticisms were summarised in Roger Tan’s article“Unswayed by fear or favour” which was also published in The Sunday Star on 20 May 2012. In summary, he says the following:

1. The Bar in condemning the police brutality must be equally aggressive in its condemnation against the protestors who “behaved like rioters and anarchists”.

2. The Bar had prejudged the issues by passing the resolution because by doing so “the Bar had already come to a conclusion that all those acts listed therein had been committed by the police”.

3. The Bar should have demanded an apology from Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim because “it was his men who were reportedly the ones who removed the barrier” which was “the trigger point”.

This statement is written immediately in response to Roger Tan’s article, but also addresses others who have been critical of the Bar on this issue. We intend to address the second criticism first, then the third and first criticisms. Our reason for this will become apparent as our reply develops.

The Bar did not prejudge the issues

In his second criticism, Roger says that the Bar should only pass the resolution condemning police brutality after a finding has been made by an independent body such as SUHAKAM.

However, SUHAKAM relies on the evidence of witnesses, and often conducts a hearing several months after the event.

The Bar based its stance and resolution on the observations of 80 lawyers who formed a team of observers of events during Bersih 3.0. The purpose of assembling and mobilising this monitoring team was precisely so that the Bar would be able to rely on their eyewitness accounts, and not those of friends, media, the police, or post-event photos or videos.

The observations of the monitoring team were recorded and compiled within hours on the day itself, and thereafter fine-tuned and completed. We have no reason to doubt the credibility and observations of the team, and neither have we heard of substantiated allegations about them.

Aside from the Bar monitoring team and its report, since that day many other eyewitness accounts have emerged, including photos and videos that speak for themselves.

Significantly, on this occasion, even media members were not spared.

We even had the embarrassing incident where Al-Jazeera’s reporter Harry Fawcett had to report via Skype from his iPad as his team’s video camera was smashed by police while they were recording police brutality against protestors.

Most importantly, many previous SUHAKAM inquiries the 5 November 2001 Kesas Highway Incident, the 17 June 2003 Kundasang Incident, the 28 May 2006 KLCC Incident, the 27 May 2008 Persiaran Bandar Mahkota Cheras 1 Incident, the 9 July 2011 Bersih 2.0 Incident found that there was excessive use of force by the police, and evidence of police brutality.

Numerous complaints by victims led to the said inquiries, the findings of which thereafter vindicated the complaints leading to damning conclusions about police conduct.

These many reports do not just show isolated instances of police brutality: Bersih 3.0 was not a one-off. There is a pattern of regular use of excessive force and brutality in violation of human rights by the Royal Malaysian Police Force.

Despite these many reports by SUHAKAM, and despite the findings of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police, the police have not made any serious attempts to school themselves in the prevention of human rights violations.

Regrettably, Roger is sceptical of the 80 monitors appointed by the Bar Council because they are not named, as he “would certainly like to know their political inclinations” to satisfy himself that they “were independent-minded in their conclusions”.

Firstly, five widely-respected senior members of the Bar, who were a part of a “roving” team of monitors, were named and had their observations separately documented: Christopher Leong (Vice President of the Malaysian Bar), Steven Thiru (Treasurer of the Bar Council), Dato’ Ramachelvam Manimuthu, Ramdas Tikamdas, and Roger Chan Weng Keng.

Apparently it is not enough that lawyers of this calibre verify and endorse the report.

More importantly, what does one’s political inclination have to do with stating a fact about whether Malaysian citizens were assaulted and battered by the police, and whether there was excessive use of force in accordance with international human rights standards?

Whilst Roger Tan has left the Bar Council, it is unfair to assume that the Bar Council would not have trained these monitors properly bearing in mind this is not the first assembly monitoring mission dispatched by the Council.

His flippant remarks greatly disparage those members of the Bar who volunteered to serve on the monitoring team, implying as it does that they would allow their personal prejudice to influence their professional duties.

It is part of our job as lawyers to put aside our personal prejudice in order to advance the cause of justice.

Rather conveniently, whilst casting these aspersions on others, Roger himself does not reveal his strong affiliations to a particular political party.

Employing Roger’s logic, one wonders, perhaps, whether commentators in The Star for example should also be required to divulge their political affiliations and leanings before their opinion pieces are published.

But we will not venture into the realm of the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem to discredit the views of others, as Roger disappointingly has.

Roger’s comments suggest that we should not immediately make conclusions even if we see a group of uniformed policemen beating up an unarmed citizen who lies helpless on the ground because there were extenuating circumstances.

And even if numerous members of the Bar, members of the public and journalists documented such incidents of brutality. The fact is, the police are supposed to treat each person they arrest as if they are innocent until proven guilty.

The police should only use reasonable force in arresting someone. If they have to resort to force, they should only use force that is proportionate to the threat faced, and only enough to ensure the person’s arrest.

Roger cites the example of the Bar postponing its EGM with regards to the VK Lingam video clip scandal while it waited for the Royal Commission of Inquiry to complete its task.

Roger, however, seems to overlook the fact that the video clip sparked the groundbreaking Walk for Justice in September 2007 which saw about 2,000 lawyers marching to the PM’s office.

The other difference with that example is that with Bersih 3.0, the Bar monitoring team saw police brutality with their own eyes, and not through a video clip. It is obvious that this is not a comparable precedent.

What is this obsession with Anwar Ibrahim?

In his third criticism, Roger insists that the Bar should similarly demand an apology from Dato’ Seri Anwarbecause he was reported to have instigated the removal of the barrier.

But Roger must understand that one must distinguish between credible first-hand reports by Bar monitors, and accusations by obviously partisan members of Barisan Nasional and its media.

This is where Roger shows an obvious inconsistency whilst saying that the eyewitness accounts of the Bar’s monitoring team is insufficient to be relied upon, he says that the Bar should demand an apology from Dato’ Seri Anwar for an incident that no one on the Bar’s monitoring team witnessed.

Despite the many eye witness blog entries, photos and videos, there has been no compelling evidence either way to show who removed the barriers, or whether their removal was facilitated by the police, public, or Opposition members. On what basis is Roger suggesting that the Bar demand an apology from Dato’ Seri Anwar?

Let us for one moment set aside the question whether the Court order prohibiting entry into Dataran Merdeka was unnecessary, wrong in law and unconstitutional. Let us also assume the barriers in question were covered by the Court order.

Even assuming that the order was validly executed by the police, did it necessitate the extreme use of non-lethal force to arrest and disperse the small group of people who breached the barrier? Bearing in mind that the Bar’s resolution was on police misconduct, and not about who removed the barrier, it is even more disconcerting that Roger implies that the police may excessively and disproportionally tear-gas and beat the innocent just to get at those who did breach the barrier.

The Bar need not have condemned the protestors

Finally, Roger develops the basis of the criticism that the Bar is not “independent” by stating the Bar failed to condemn with equal vigour lay members of the public who he says acted “like rioters and anarchists”.

Many labour under the misapprehension that to be “independent” an organisation must always be even handed and restrained in one’s remarks. But that is a fallacy. And it is an even greater fallacy when it concerns injustice.

Police brutality is a violation of a human right. A violation of any human right is manifest injustice.

Police brutality per se is an injustice. The presence of police brutality has tainted the Royal Malaysian Police as surely as a drop of blood stains a uniform.

An injustice perpetrated by even one from an institution set up to serve the cause of justice deserves the harshest condemnation. There cannot be any restraint in condemning abuse of power.

As a police force meant to be independent and professional, the Royal Malaysian Police are kept to higher standards than lay members of the public. So the Bar cannot be swayed by fear or favour; it cannot be hesitant or even handed in condemning an injustice that is police brutality.

Here is an Executive institution that is well-funded and well-staffed with wide powers taking action against unarmed people. It is State against the individual person, and the Bar stands muststand for the latter.

What Roger and many who adopt this line of criticism fail to explain is how the condemnation of police brutality amounts to an endorsement of the Opposition.

This criticism reveals more of their own political prejudice than that of the Bar.

Their criticism strongly suggests a belief that criticism of the police is the equivalent of criticism against the political party in government.

Their criticism also reveals that they are the sort who think that perception is reality.

It is only those who are so immersed and drenched in politics that adopt such a worldview. The Bar’s criticism and the facts it relies on are an inconvenience to their perception.

Ultimately these popular criticisms against the Bar are not borne of logic or facts, but a need to feel good.

There is one further reason why we would not have voted for a resolution that condemned those members of the public who turned violent.

The fact is that most thinking Malaysians who have access to the alternative media and therefore do not rely solely on the bare faced propaganda of our mainstream print and broadcast media are not convinced that these so called “rioters” are as blameworthy as the police.

The police put razor wire across our City roads turning Kuala Lumpur into a war zone before any violence had ensued.

The police obtained a totally unnecessary Court order prohibiting entry for four days into Dataran Merdeka, without any notice or opportunity to the organisers of Bersih 3.0 to present their case despite ample time for them to do this.

Then, when the disturbance started, it was the police who shot tear gas behind and in front of retreating protestors so that they were boxed in rather than allowed to disperse.

Who ordered the closure of the nearby LRT stations so as to prevent people from dispersing? Who ordered the destruction of cameras belonging to journalists, and the reported censorship of Al Jazeera and the BBC?

What justified the four hours of continued attacks on people who were already dispersing or having dinner? All this done against fellow Malaysians, who until the very end had taken part in an almost perfect rally.

Please read the rest here.
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Opinions they say, are like assholes; everybody has one. So since I already have one and not quite ready to flash it to the world, I’ll make an observation instead.

Those who break the law, will face the might of the law, but Mr Tan seems to have conveniently overlooked the fact that while unruly hooligan-type protesters who cause damage and harm should face the music, the police DOES NOT HAVE ANY AUTHORITY OR RIGHT TO BEAT UP PEOPLE! They are supposed to arrest and subject the arrestee to due process.

Here is Malaysia, it seems police brutality is so normalised that people (AND THE COPS THEMSELVES) assume that cops have the right to beat people blue, black and bloody.

They are supposed to be keeping law and order, but who is keeping them in order?  Hishamuddin from his tower?

Muahahahaha.

I am a rural voter…


…and you better believe me, I’m going to show my family, my friends, whoever  who’d pay attention…this

They say that a rural voter’s vote is worth SIX urban votes.

You dissolve parliament tomorrow and my crusade starts.

*Thanks to a very talented friend of mine who put this together.

The relevance of Said Zahari


Yesterday, I visited the #Occupiers at Dataran Merdeka, and listened to Fahmi Reza as he recited a poem by a journalist from 43 years ago, lamenting the black day that was May 13, 1969.


Hidden Hands – Said Zahari

(written after racial riots in Kuala Lumpur)

Once again
History repeats itself
By savage deeds
In a civilised age

Once again
Hidden hands appear
Seeking the blood
Of the poor and the wretched

Once again
Colour, race, religion and language
Become sharp blades
To use in the carnage

It has happened
In every corner of the earth
Where the few eat bread
And the rest sand

It has happened
Where the few clothed in velvet
Sleep in palaces
The rest go naked, squeezed into shacks

It has happened —
Then Hidden Hands reappear
Spilling the blood of the poor
To cling on to power

SAID ZAHARI
May, 1969

This poem was originally written in Malay and published in 1973 by Abadi Printers as part of “Poems From Prison by Said Zahari, who was the Editor of Utusan Melayu before his arrest under the Internal Security Act in Singapore in 1963 and remained under detention for 17 years. He was released in 1980. 

credit- SinChew.

The great Malaysian burger festival is on!!


Kuala Lumpur: The two Malaysian burger giants, Old Timer Burger and Romly Burger has come together in a rare show of agreement as both lauded the welcome announcement by KL Police Chief, Car Lid Burn.

Car Lid Burn yesterday said that there was nothing wrong with people who want to set up burger stalls in front of anyone’s house, so long as they do not cause trouble.

“We’ve been getting many calls from young men who see a blue ocean market waiting for them at posh residential areas, and frankly, we are delighted,” says Oblong bin Bulat, the marketing director at Old Time burger.

Before this, according to him, residents of such areas as Taman Duta, Bukit Tunku, Bukit Damansara, Country Heights and Embassy Row in Jalan Ampang have always turned up their noses at having the humble burger stall in front of their houses.

“They like their burgers, but they’d rather have it at Desa Sri Hartamas you know, where they can chomp on 10 ringgit burgers and pretend they are slumming.”

Romly Burger is now welcoming franchise partners to open up stalls in such areas at Putrajaya, namely Precinct 1, 10 especially at the entrance of Seri Perdana, the Prime Minister’s office and Seri Satria.

“These are places where a lot of foreign dignitaries come to visit. Romly Burger might as well be their first taste of real Malaysia. I think Romly Burger has the potential to put Malaysia on the world map for all the right reasons,” its chairman and CEO Ayam Special said.

Meanwhile, the last weekend saw a rather empty street near Dataran Merdeka as the usual Rempit posse stayed home to work on their new business plan.

Petty Trader Association (Ikhlas) however, was adamant that burgers in front of posh houses are an idea of theirs and are planning to sue both the burger giants.

Its head, Muhamed Reezvan Ubaidoolla was apoplectic and went steadily purple as he yelled,”Kita Bantah, Kita Bantah!!”

Attempts to get further reaction failed as Reezvan keeled over, and had to be rushed to the nearest hospital. At press time, his fate was still unknown.

The awkward moment…


Image

….when the guy you’re badmouthing turns up to listen with good grace.

I’m sure massive amounts of internal squirming was going on here. I mean, you wanna bitch about someone, it was always convenient not to have that someone within earshot eh?

I’m sure these Umno fools did not expect this to happen at all. 

Drive to the Umno ceramah – 10 minutes.
The look on their faces when they saw Nizar turn up to hear slanders against him – Priceless!

Well done YB Nizar.

 

The cheek and chicanery of Shahrizat Jalil


Much has been written about the mismanagement of National Feedlot Corporation that most of you have already heard the gory details.

But let’s bring some perspective into this issue. Let’s remember  how we first heard about this issue.

It was the Auditor General’s report, not Pakatan Rakyat politicians who first highlighted this issue, calling the project a mess. Read more here.

Remember that the PKR folks just followed the dirt trail after that. And you know where it led; to luxury condos and luxury cars and whatnot.

When addressing the Wanita Umno hordes earlier this week, its chief Shahrizat Jalil was vociferous in her anger against those she said were attacking Wanita Umno.

Mistake #1. Who’s attacking Wanita Umno? It is you Shahrizat, whose conduct is in question here. You and your family. You say you are innocent of what is going on in NFC because that is your husband’s business and not yours? You must think we are all cows, with cowdung for brains.

So all the sleeve-pulling, angry rhetorics and this whole wanking exercise that was Shahrizat’s speech did not address the fundamental issue; How come her family got the project in the first place?

Mistake #2. Noh Omar, Muhyiddin Yassin and Khairy Jamaluddin all rushed to her defence, but not one of them addressed the question above.

Mistake #3. The cops, almost immediately after MACC passed the baton to them(saying this was not a graft issue), stated that  preliminary investigations showed there was no element of Criminal Breach of Trust.

But who’s going to answer these fundamental questions?

1) Under what criteria did Shahrizat’s family get the contract?

2) Who approved it and when? Was it when Muhyiddin was Agriculture Minister?

3) Why the purchase of a luxury condo in Bangsar, and the luxury car?

4) The RM83 million soft loan…who signed off on it and what was it meant for?

5) From where did the money come (83 million)?

6) Seeing that it is some kind of government allocation, are they allowed to spend the money on purchases totally unrelated to the cow business?

7) Is it the policy of the BN government to allow Ministers’ families to benefit from national projects?

8) If the National Feedlot project is a national project, then why is it allegedly supplying meat to fancy restaurants owned by Shahrizat’s family?

Why aren’t they addressing these questions? Even within Umno there is already discord over this matter. That means even to them, this issue is indefensible.

Without addressing these questions, I daresay Shahrizat is a liability come GE13. Already a backdoor Minister, it is unlikely that she will win at any seat she contests in.

 

 

Cultural learnings of Bersih 2.0…


…for make benefit glorious nation of Malaysia. These are things I learnt this past week.

– Bersih Rocks.

– The police was taken aback by the sheer numbers that turned up in the streets despite the weeklong scaremongering and arrests. They were caught unprepared. The best part of the rally was in front of Maybank building on Jalan Tun Perak, where the fearless crowd actually forced the FRU trucks to retreat.

–  It was probably thought by the authorities that the age old strategy of arresting the big names would derail the rally or send the minions running. EPIC FAIL. Read this piece by The Malaysian Insider.

–  The IGP is a pure, unadulterated, garden variety moron. He said rather sulkily yesterday on TV of the protesters,  “Dia bukan jerit Bersih. Dia jerit Refomasi.” His bosses probably didn’t tell him that the whole Bersih rally was about Electoral REFORM.

– You can ban a colour, you can ban a yellow T-shirt, you can even arrest people, demonise a cause, mount a so-call counter rally. But you CAN’T stop the passage of an idea that has taken root. The Star’s front page headline today captures the mood. I can’t bear to link it here though because the rest of the tripe that followed, including the pathetic editorial, was reeking of Stockholm Syndrome.  But yes, the people who stood up to be counted yesterday, was indeed DEFIANT. That was the people’s collective middle finger there.

–  Racism is a bogeyman of the past, that no one but the present government believes, and only it keeps alive though its various vacuous, stale rhetorics. And the people I saw that day paid scant attention to it. Unity was all around. 

 That’s Baru Bian of Ba Kelalan, folks. That’s right, the dude turned up, warrior style.

–  The so called “Patriots” came and went, their scant impact probably apparent to even themselves. Just heard that each of the “patriot” red shirts were paid RM800 each. Sheer waste of money come to think of it. It serves no purpose except to Khairy Jamaludin, who probably thought he got some street credibility by getting arrested.  Yeah man…you and more than a thousand others. Tear gassed? Tough!

7) Barking dog without a bite is Perkasa. After endless fiery rhetoric from that slimeball, all things Perkasa was no show. Apparently Braheng Ali went to attend the Putrajaya Floria. So this self appointed champion of Malay rights turned out to be a Mat Bunga. Good for him. Let him smell the roses while he still can.

8) The Silat dudes and pendekar types. They are the best of the lot. Threatening to save Malaysia from the “dangerous folks” Omar din’s boys were so effective that nobody saw them. They managed the incredible feat of being invisible. Wow! Ghaib terus!

– Polis Raja Di Malaysia. What can I say. Ismail Omar’s boys outdid themselves. Tying arrestees with rope, gassing people unprovoked,  herding the hordes into closed streets and gassing them. Chasing people down, resulting in the death of a PKR member’s husband Baharuddin Ahmad. Firing tear gas into Tung Shin Hospital. They’ve all but convinced people and journalists who recorded the footage, that they don’t give a damn about the sick.

Bersih went global – Korea

– Unit Amal PAS is a shining example of organisation and discipline. They rushed to the aid of many people and this I saw myself, and I have eyewitness accounts too.  There are many positive things going for PAS, but these boys are surely near the top of the list.

–  1Malaysia. Not Najib’s expensive PR exercise, but the reality on the ground. In the middle of the crowd, i saw the old, the young, the purdah clad women, makcik, uncle, aunties, Malaysians of all colour, singing Negaraku when facing down the full riot geared cops. My tears at that time was not because of the tear gas.

– Ruined business? Hahahaha. In the streets where the hotels were, we were hard pressed to find a room, cos they were mostly fully booked. The tau fu far seller packed up early, not because he was afraid, he just all sold out. The same refrain was heard from friends near Dang Wangi, Pudu, Hang Jebat, Petaling Street, Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Ampang and Leboh Ampang.

– Tourists? They probably thought this was a nice addition to the holiday package and they too joined, some marched along and others watching the spectacle.

-This dude was my hero. All those who bitched about jams and closed roads, look at this dude,. People in crutches and wheelchairs turned up, but you losers stayed home. Shame on you.

Traffic jams? Solely the fault of the cops. The idea was to stop the vehicles coming in.  But those who slipped in, made their way via public transport, or simply walked.

– I also learnt that the police were raiding hotel rooms on the pretext of looking for “khalwat possibilities”. JAWI must be very displeased that their prerogative of catching people in dishabille was usurped by the men in blue.

TV3 live reports. A reporter on the ground was saying that a parang and other unidentified objects were thrown at the TV3 media team. Tellingly, the parang was not shown on TV, leading to questions in my mind. Oi, mana parang? If you had evidence, you missed the chance to show them on live TV. I guess TV3 is so immersed in fiction that it believes its own stories.

Finally, the Internet and Social Media RULES! This was a rally that was possible because of communications technology. Technology also made it possible to viral out live updates. Twitterjaya was all abuzz, Facebook and the blogs played a key role in dissemination of  information, pictures and raw videos.

This was probably why the strategy of arresting the lead personalities failed to stop the march. The rally dispersed peacefully after 4pm and it was of the participants own accord. Some of them even shook hands with the cops before they left. How cool is that?

In fact, perhaps in testament to the times we live in, Bersih 2.0 went global, with  solidarity gatherings in many cities around the world. I know my friend in Adelaide attended one. Another one turned up at Bersih Melbourne.

Bersih Melbourne. Bravo Malaysians!

Hooligans? Troublemakers? No, just Malaysians with real grievances who were repeatedly lied to, thwarted, and prevented from venting their frustrations. Not a single act of vandalism was carried out, no looting was heard of, no torching of cars or anything.

Just Malaysians wanting to be heard. You didn’t give them a stadium. They took over the city. The People 1 – the Govt 0.

Nuff said.

Bersih 2.0. I Love Malaysia


I’ll let the pictures talk. This was around Petaling Street, Tun Perak, Kota Raya and Puduraya. Not much time to write, but as you can see, Malaysians turned up by the tens of thousands.

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TESTING MALAYSIAN DEMOCRACY: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION


STATEMENT FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL MALAYSIA
28 June 2011                                                                                                                                                        


Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) maintains that the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, Association, Expression and Opinion are fundamental strands to a democracy. Any nation who claims to be a democratic must guarantee the exercise of these human rights.

As we draw closer to 9 July 2011, the date set by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) for its public assembly calling for electoral reform, AIM hopes that the Government and the relevant law enforcement authorities will recognise, respect and uphold their duties and obligations to the rakyat. In 2007, 245 people were arrested during the Bersih rally. We hope the nation will not encounter a repetition of such arbitrary mass arrests again.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution states that all citizens have the right tofreedom of speech and expression, to assemble peaceably and without arms and the right to form associations. Article 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights further upholds the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly and association. These rights should be held paramount by States and laws aiming to regulate these freedoms should not result in the banning and restriction of rights.

Government and enforcement authorities had voiced their disagreements over Perhimpunan Bersih. AIM appeals to the police to create a safe and conducive environment for Malaysians to express their views and to play a leading role in facilitating a peaceful assembly. Force should not be used especially when policing non-violent assemblies such as Bersih. Law enforcement officials should differentiate between peaceful and non-peaceful participants. Bersih and its coalitions have repeatedly affirmed its intention to have a peaceful walk. They have also given the authorities notice of their intention to walk within a reasonable time. This period should then be taken by the authorities to ensure the safety of all participants.

Amnesty International’s “10 Basic Human Rights Standards for Law Enforcement Officials” states that the use of force should be avoided in dispersing a peaceful/non-violent assembly. We reiterate that law enforcement officials owe a duty to protect the participants of a peaceful assembly.  UN’s Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials further states that law enforcers may not inflict any act of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment nor invoke superior orders or exceptional circumstances such as national security or political instability as justification for torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights globally, Malaysia needs to recognise and respect the democratic and constitutional right of its citizens to assemble in public. The Malaysian government also needs to acknowledge such assemblies as true indicators of public sentiments. Thus we ask that BERSIH is given fair opportunity to voice its causes

In the struggle for independence which began with the opposition towards the Malayan Union in 1946, Malaysians as one nation participated in peaceful marches to indicate their dissatisfaction of further imposition of colonial rule. Today, Malaysians are calling for indisputable elections, the ultimate validation for a democratic Government. Although not all parties may agree that there is a pressing need for electoral reform within the country, AIM urges the Malaysian government to take a leaf out of Voltaire’s book when he said, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

Nora Murat
Executive Director